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In brief

Local plant hit by job cuts

Fairchild Semiconductor will lay off approximately 10 percent of its 250 employees at the company’s facility in the Crestwood Industrial Park.

The job cuts are part of a companywide restructuring by the maker of semiconductors for a variety of applications. Last month, the South Portland, Maine-based company said it would cut approximately 1,100 of its 9,200 employees because of worsening economic conditions.

Company spokeswoman Patti Olson said the cuts are across the board and all employees at the Mountain Top plant had been notified last week. “We opened up the reduction of our staff to people who would like to volunteer,” she said Thursday.

Some people will leave by the end of this week while others will work until the end of March. Workers will receive a severance package that includes medical and dental coverage.

Sallie sees improvement

Executives of Sallie Mae, the nation’s largest student lender, said Thursday they expect solid growth in lending and earnings this year despite continued economic distress and strains in the credit markets that have pushed its funding costs higher.

Sallie Mae, formally called SLM Corp., expects core earnings for 2009 of $1.45 to $1.65 a share, the executives said in a conference call with analysts. That would be up from 89 cents a share in 2008.

The company employs about 800 at a payment processing center in Hanover Township.

Sallie Mae shares fell $1.45, or 12.4 percent, to end at $10.25 Thursday. They have traded between $4.19 and $25.05 over the past 52 weeks.

Google beats expectations

Google Inc.’s profit slipped for the first time in the fourth quarter, but the Internet search leader was still able to deliver a performance that was better than analysts anticipated.

The results released Thursday indicated the Mountain View, Calif.-based company was able to rein in its free-spending ways enough to offset a slowdown in the online ad market that generates most of Google’s revenue. Revenue climbed 18 percent to $5.7 billion. That marked the first time Google’s revenue growth had fallen below 30 percent from the previous year.

Microsoft to cut 5,000

Microsoft Corp. will make the first mass layoffs in its 34-year history, cutting 5,000 jobs as demand for personal computers falls and even one of the world’s richest companies gets burned by the recession.

The company announced the cuts Thursday as it reported an 11 percent drop in second-quarter profit, which fell short of Wall Street’s expectations. Microsoft shares plunged nearly 12 percent.

The company said it could not issue a forecast for earnings and profits for the rest of the year.

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